Older blog entries for marnanel (starting at number 1015)

If I had a spinneret

If I ever meet the Wizard of Oz, I'll ask him to turn me into a spider. Here's a song about that.

I would hurry to the kitchen
with pedipalps a-twitching,
to see what I could get.
And when there I would eat all
the insides of every beetle,
if I had a spinneret.

And that's only the beginning;
it sets my head a-spinning
to see them in my net.
To the edge I would scarper
where I'd pluck it like a harper
if I had a spinneret.

Oh, I could catch the fly
that ventured near my web,
then another as the hunger starts to ebb.
I'd be an arthropod celeb.

And I'd tell the tale with recaps
from more than seven kneecaps
to everyone I met.
And I'd be the provider
of a web for every spider
if I had a spinneret.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/277391.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-05-22 09:11:56 from Monument

HMS Glorious

In my dream last night, the admirals came to tell Elizabeth I that the Spanish were invading, and she said, "Well, repel them." But as the admirals were leaving, she added, "Wait, come back. I have invented a submarine, and I think this would be the best chance to test it in action. I shall call it HMS GLORIOUS." So HMS Glorious was built, and Elizabeth insisted on being the pilot. It carried no torpedoes, for they had not been invented, but instead it had a sharp point at the front which was used to ram the Spanish ships (yes, you're welcome to give a Freudian reading to this). And as the Armada sank ship by ship, the sailors would cheer and say, "Well done, your Majesty! Er, I mean, well done, mysterious sailor whose name we forgot."

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/276740.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-05-18 10:18:34 from Monument

in my head, scribbled down

This assassination plan
In nineteen sixty three
(Which was soon for Lyndon B.)
Involved a knoll and a rifleman
Who was (or was not) named Lee.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/276372.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-05-10 12:35:29 from Monument

"What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?"

In 2009, a WWII veteran named Phillip Spooner spoke to a committee of Maine lawmakers in support of equal marriage. In 2010, Melissa Dunphy set Spooner's words to music, winning the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers Composition Competition. This is that piece.

"Good morning, committee. My name is Phillip Spooner and I live at 5 Graham Street in Biddeford. I am 86 years old and a lifetime Republican and an active VFW chaplain ... I was born on a potato farm north of Caribou and Perham, where I was raised to believe that all men are created equal, and I've never forgotten that. I served in the U.S. Army, 1942-1945 ... I worked with every outfit over there, including Patton's Third Army. I saw action in all five major battles in Europe... I was in the liberation of Paris. (I have seen much, so much blood and guts, so much suffering, much sacrifice.) I am here today because of a conversation I had last June when I was voting. A woman ... asked me, "Do you believe in equality for gay and lesbian people?" I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, "What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?" For freedom and equality. These are the values that make America a great nation, one worth dying for. My wife and I did not raise four sons with the idea that our gay son would be left out. We raised them all to be hard-working, proud, and loyal Americans and they all did good."

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/276193.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-05-10 11:16:18 from Monument

The King of the Boeotians

This is the song Eurydice's jailer sings to her in hell. As so often in Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld", comic pathos abounds.

"When I was king of the Boeotians, my kingdom prospered far and wide,
Bounded only by the oceans, until one day I took ill and died.
I remember without emotion the crown from which I had to part,
For now your charms cause such commotion in the kingdom of my heart!
Oh, had I known these fond emotions when I was king of the Boeotians!

If I were king of the Boeotians, you would reign there by my side.
Ah, do not shudder at the notion! I was attractive... before I died.
And though I have not one promotion through the ranks of souls in hell,
No ghost could offer such devotion, or take the heart that means so well
Of the late king of the Boeotians, the former king of the Boeotians."

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/275565.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-05-05 14:00:20 from Monument

The ballad of Thomas the Rhymer's optician

I scribbled this down as a teenager:

True Thomas lay on Huntlie bank; he'd gone down there to do some fishing;
He couldna see the other side, so he went down unto his optician.
"O see ye not that broad, broad road that lies across the lily leven?
That is the path of wickedness, though some call it the road to heaven.
And see ye not that narrow road, all thick beset with thorns and briers?
That is the path of righteousness, though after it but few enquires."
O no, O no, True Thomas said, the wicked road's too far away;
I can but see the gudely road, all clear as in the light of day.
"O, you're short-sighted, True Thomas, and you'll need glasses for to see,
And now you'll give me seven pounds, for we don't give these eye-tests free."

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/274924.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-04-22 19:23:21 from Monument


Walking home through the rain, I passed a businessman hurrying the other way under an umbrella.

Businessman: Excuse me. Can you tell me how to get to the Crown Inn?
Marn: (pointing) Wait. Look behind you, there, or you'll miss the rainbow!
Businessman: (turning) It's beautiful!
(Short pause.)
Businessman: Do you know the way to the Crown?
Marn: Well, you see that road there...

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/274452.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-04-12 18:47:51 from Monument

Mrs T

For myself, I am not at all intending triumphalism over Thatcher's death. I could once have wished her to suffer for making others suffer, but those years of dementia are suffering I would never wish on anybody. And the Thatcher who has died is a frail old woman who has lost her mind, not the person who did all that damage all those years ago: her death now cannot be good news to anybody because it can solve nothing at all. I had little good to say for her while she lived, and I have little good to say for her now she's dead. But what I'm mostly mourning is the loss of the life of a powerful and intelligent person who could have made the world so much better and did not.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/274366.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-04-08 13:10:19 from Monument

Steno: Song of New Year's Eve

Text for today: "Look to your lord who gives you life" (the first line of "Song of New Year's Eve").

This is mostly unremarkable:

Look = HRAOBG (note AO is this vowel as well as the vowel in Food, if those differ for you)
To = TO as spelt
Your = YOUR as spelt
Lord = HRORD. Typing this as HRORT gives you "life-support", which is amusingly appropriate.
Who = WHO as spelt (this threw me)
Gives = TPKWEUF + Z. You can actually do this in one chord but I don't feel quite confident enough, so I did it in two.
You = U, just the letter. (You might assume from this that Your is UR, but that's You're.)
Life = HRIF

Edit: I am moving these posts to a thread on the Plover Aviary.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/273933.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-04-02 14:21:28 (Updated 2013-04-02 14:56:28) from Monument


Odd thing this afternoon: I was tidying up when I suddenly remembered I had to ask the doctor for more medication before the Easter break. So I walked off towards the surgery.

On the way I passed a woman walking around anxiously beside an expensive car with British numberplates that was parked beside the road. There was a toddler in a car-seat inside, but no other adults around, which makes it all the odder that the car carried L-plates.

The woman asked me in broken English if I could tell her the postcode where we were, so I wrote it down for her. She repeated it into her phone in a Romance language I don't know (this combined with her eastern European accent makes me think she was Romanian). Then she asked how she could find some petrol, but she didn't know the word and in the end resorted to pointing at the petrol cap. I drew her a map. She said, "I am here with my baby. I am lost." I said, "I was getting that." She asked me the way to the M11, which I had no clue about, but I drew her a map of the way to the M25. I said, "Can I help you with anything else? Can I leave my phone number with you?" She said, "No, no," and pointed at her phone, "my husband".

On my way back, I passed the car again, but the woman and child were gone. I took one of my business cards and wrote "We spoke earlier. If you need anything, call." and put it on the window. I haven't heard from her, though.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/273836.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-03-26 21:40:40 from Monument

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